Post Thumb
Achint Setia

Influencer marketing has become a top priority for many marketers today and multiple reports have indicated a budget growth of more than 25% in 2021. The industry is poised to grow at a CAGR of 25% for the next decade, reaching a size of Rs 2,200 crore in 2025.

However, with its constant evolution influencers need to keep updating themselves with time and build skillsets, said Achint Setia, VP and Business Head, Social Commerce, Myntra, in interaction with BuzzInContent.

“A lot of things are happening in the influencer economy today. In the coming year, there has to be the up-gradation of talent in terms of their skills and their craft to do a variety of content formats. With live streaming coming in, with a lot of other platforms trying different formats, this is a constant evolution and skill-building is something that every influencer needs to know to stay relevant. The skillset needed to do content lead shopping on a live streaming platform is far more different than the skillset one needs to make a 42-second song and dance Reel. Influencers will have to update themselves in 2022 if they want to find meaningful monetization opportunities at scale, where there would be brands and platforms willing to invest and consumers willing to invest their time,” Setia said.

He foresees the rise of regional creators coming in at scale in the coming year.

He added, “The third trend I see in the creative economy is the kind of monetisation models that get created, not just from the brands, but also customers. For instance, in China in any live streaming, there is a fair bit of gifting from the customers to influencers which generate a fair bit of money for the influencers also. Depending on how strong your followership and your fandom is, you will be able to get more out of that without even worrying about what the brand pays you.”

He believes the industry is not close to being mature right now and is still at a very nascent stage. Out of two-three million creators in the country today, only a handful get consistent and substantial financial returns for their efforts and others mostly have engagement-driven outcomes.

“The industry will mature when this becomes a serious business for the creators and becomes a full time and long-term profession for them. I think we are on the right track,” he said.  

At the beginning of the year, ASCI had implemented a few guidelines to ensure more transparency and authenticity in the influencers marketing space. Speaking on this, Setia shared that from a principle standpoint, it's always a good thing to bring transparency for the consumers so that they can make the right choice. Even from an influencer standpoint, they are very candid about what they are promoting themselves versus what they are promoting through partnerships. Also, he didn’t witness any big drops as such in the engagements following the implementation of the guidelines.

Influencers are now essential to Myntra’s marketing mix and the investments in influencer-led commerce and marketing have increased steadily, which stands at 3-4X of what it was in 2019.

“We don't have a marketing approach which doesn't have a creator intervention, whether it is our brand campaigns. It's very integral and we don't even really look at it as a separate number on top of the rest of the spends,” he said.

The e-commerce company closely works with celebrities and micro-influencers.

Upon being asked if there is any specific challenge while working with either of them, he said, “The challenge comes when you're trying to make them do something they don't stand for, for their followers. If it is natural, in the zone that they are known for, and that is their strength, then it becomes pretty seamless.”

Defining Myntra’s contribution to the creators’ economy, he went on to share how as a platform and business it has been fairly invested in the space for many years now.

“It's actually a visual medium to communicate the category that we operate in. In addition to that, it's also a medium where people look to buy, not just for serving their daily needs, but also something to serve their aspirations, and something to express themselves as an individual. Beauty as a category is a very immersive category where you need a lot of guidance on not just the visual aspects of it, but also the scientific aspects of it because your skin and hair are involved in it, that’s where experts and influencers play a very important role,” Setia said.

“Therefore, we have been very deeply engaged. From our social media partnerships to our investment in IPs like Myntra Fashion Superstar- over the last three to four years particularly, we have been able to drive a lot of partnerships with creators and also in the process we’ve been able to discover a lot of good creators in the category that we operate in,” he added.

Other than Myntra Fashion Superstar, its social commerce business has two other distinct propositions; M-Live and Myntra Studio.

Sharing the content strategy for each, Setia said that the purpose of the content on a commerce platform is to inspire, educate, and entertain.

“There are influencers and fashionistas who understand the craft of fashion and beauty, where the inspiration comes from. The education comes from the fact that there are a lot of DIY hacks that consumers are always looking for, to solve very trivial issues to slightly more complicated questions on their minds. And the way the consumer has been immersed into a lot of content, if there is no entertainment or engagement, there isn't watchability,” he said.

Apart from these three objectives it also puts up fresh content regularly, on a daily basis, to stay at the top of the game.

He further added that the company doesn’t do IPs to monetize and build a business around it, as a media company would do, but invests in them to complement what Myntra already stands for as a brand.

Discussing how every format of content has a different purpose, he shared that the company has witnessed a lot of success with most of the visual formats.

“Audio as a format we haven't really experimented a lot with, but we definitely keep looking at opportunities to do that. There are a few conversations that we are doing in the same space,” he said.

Sharing insights on how the content-to-commerce space is going to evolve in 2022 and if there are going to be more consolidations and acquisitions, he said, “Any industry or sector grows either through consolidation or through deconsolidation. I think we are at a stage where we'll see a lot more people coming in, over the next few years trying multiple models, some succeeding some not and then maybe a few winners will emerge over a period of time. We already started to see some consolidation happening in the industry with a few acquisitions over the last one and a half years, and I see that will continue to happen in the coming year. The reason for consolidation would not just be to get somebody to do the same thing that you're doing but it's more to build an ecosystem. It's an ecosystem of content, commerce, creator economy coming together on platform and technology.”